Send to

Choose Destination
Andrology. 2019 Sep 27. doi: 10.1111/andr.12713. [Epub ahead of print]

Potential use of stem cells for fertility preservation.

Author information

CReATe Fertility Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Department of Gynecology, Women's College Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.



Infertility and gonadal dysfunction can result from gonadotoxic therapies, environmental exposures, aging, or genetic conditions. In men, non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) results from defects in the spermatogenic process that can be attributed to spermatogonial stem cells (SSC) or their niche, or both. While assisted reproductive technologies and sperm banking can enable fertility preservation (FP) in men of reproductive age who are at risk for infertility, FP for pre-pubertal patients remains experimental. Therapeutic options for NOA are limited. The rapid advance of stem cell research and of gene editing technologies could enable new FP options for these patients. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), SSC, and testicular niche cells, as well as mesenchymal stromal cells (aka medicinal signaling cells, MSCs), have been investigated for their potential use in male FP strategies.


Here, we review the benefits and challenges for three types of stem cell-based approaches under investigation for male FP, focusing on the role that promising sources of MSC derived from human umbilical cord, specifically human umbilical cord perivascular cells (HUCPVC), could fulfill. These approaches are as follows: 1. isolation and ex vivo expansion of autologous SSC for in vivo transplantation or in vitro spermatogenesis; 2. in vitro differentiation toward germ cell and testicular somatic cell lineages using autologous SSC, or stem cells such iPSC or MSC; and 3. protection or regeneration of the spermatogenic niche after gonadotoxic insults in vivo.


Our studies suggest that HUCPVC are promising sources of cells that could be utilized in multiple aspects of male FP strategies.


male infertility; mesenchymal stromal cell; reproductive medicine; spermatogenesis; testicular niche


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center